The village of El Cotillo in Fuerteventura
|Etymology and toponymy
|El Cotillo is a former fishing village in the northwest of Fuerteventura. The small port is now a seaside resort, much quieter than the station Corralejo installed on the northeast coast. Unlike Corralejo is downwind, El Cotillo is exposed to the wind, making its beaches for the practice of windsurfing and kite surfing.
El Cotillo has a population of about 1,200 inhabitants and is part of the municipality of La Oliva.
|El Cotillo was known since 1599 under the name of Puerto del Roque, then, from 1626, under the name of Puerto de El Tostón, the “Port du Crouton” probably because of the appearance of the crust that has region crossed by the lava flows from nearby volcanoes. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that the town took the name of El Cotillo.
|El Cotillo is located in the extreme northwest of the island of Fuerteventura; the resort is distant 37 km from the capital of the island, Puerto del Rosario. The route goes through La Oliva, the capital of the municipality, 15 km southeast of El Cotillo, and the village of Lajares, 8 km to the east.
East of El Cotillo is an imposing volcano, Calderon Hondo (157 m) which leads a hiking trail.
The station Corralejo is located 20 km from El Cotillo by road. However it is more pleasant to reach Corralejo - walking or cycling - with the coastal track which starts north of El Cotillo behind the Urbanización Los Lagos. The track begins with the lighthouse Tostón (4.5 km) through a rather dreary moor, then continues along the coast, passing by beautiful small sandy coves separated by black lava flows. Halfway through the track Majanicho, a fishing hamlet of about thirty people which is the northernmost resort of Fuerteventura. The route ends near the bus station Corralejo where you can take the bus line No. 8 to return to El Cotillo.
| The village of El Cotillo
|Because of its proximity to the island of Lanzarote, the village of Tostón was long a trading port with the other Canary Islands and to Europe. Puerto del Tostón was one of the three ports of the island of Fuerteventura allowed to export goods, including livestock, cereals and orchil (orchilla), a purple dye extracted from a lichen growing in the Canaries. In the nineteenth century were built around the port, several lime kilns whose production was for export. The remains of these lime kilns are still visible behind the port. When, in the nineteenth century, import and export activities will were moved to Puerto de Cabras (Puerto del Rosario today), most inhabitants left the locality; only a few fishing families remained in El Cotillo.
The fishing village of El Cotillo is one of the most peaceful of Fuerteventura, where he should not expect to find the animation of large resorts. Its tourism development ambitions were thwarted by the Spanish real estate crisis of 2008; he left an impression of ghost town, especially in the new district of Los Lagos graph of deserted avenues lined with empty buildings, although their architecture is less trivial than elsewhere in the Canaries.
However alleys, often deserted, neighborhoods of the old and the new port will not lack charm or quality restaurants. A little away is the small village church, Our Lady of Good Voyage (Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje), protector of fishermen.
|The port of El Cotillo
|The old harbor (Puerto Antiguo) was particularly dangerous, unprotected exposure to strong westerly winds and gigantic waves. A new port was created in the twentieth century by the construction of a high dam between the coast and a rocky island. Behind the dam a fishing boat fleet is at the shelter, but access to this haven is still difficult because the passage is very narrow between the rocky island and the coast. That probably justifies the high enrollment - in the form of prayer - that we can see on a port stone wall “Viva la Virgen del Buen Viaje”.
Sometimes attacked by pirates, the port was protected by a small tower, pretentiously named Castillo de Rico Roque.
|Tower of Tostón (Torre de El Tostón)
|La Torre de El Tostón or Torre del Tostón, is sometimes called Fortaleza de El Tostón or Castillo de El Tostón, but this is a big tower defense. The Castillo de Tostón is south of the new port of El Cotillo. At this site once stood the ruins of an old tower dating from the time of the Norman conqueror Jean de Béthencourt in the fifteenth century, the Castillo de Rico Roque (Châtelet the Rock Rich).
The construction of the tower of Tostón was decided by the Captain General of the Canary Islands, after an attack by English privateers in 1740, although the port Tostón was protected by natural defenses in the form of large rocks that make access the difficult port that does not know navigation. The plans for the tower were designed by the military engineer Don Claudio de L’Isle (or Delisle) who is also the author of the St. Bonaventure tower in Caleta de Fuste, on the east coast of the island; the two towers are of identical design. The tower was begun in 1741 and completed in 1743; it was dedicated to Our Lady of Pilar and Saint Michael (Torre de Nuestra Señora del Pilar y San Miguel). Claudio de L’Isle, who had arrived in the Canaries in 1738, died in Fuerteventura during the construction of these towers.
La Torre de El Tostón is a circular plane ride, genoa type, with two floors, with a platform willingness three iron cannons. The tower was built with stones taken from a quarry near the church of El Cotillo; the thick walls of the tower is impressive. Access to the tower was protected by a drawbridge; from the platform defenders could pour boiling water on the attackers. To the right of the entrance, a stone staircase gave access to the lower level, which served as a warehouse for gunpowder. The tower could receive military garrison of 12 men. However, the Torre de El Tostón never had the opportunity to play its advocacy role, because its construction coincided with the end of hacker attacks.
The tower is classified as a historic monument and has been converted into a cultural space. The first floor houses a tourist office and contemporary art exhibitions. From the platform visitors a panoramic view of the beaches of El Cotillo.
Address: Paseo de Rico Roque
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 15 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 14 pm.
Entry fee: € 1.50.
|Lighthouse Tostón (Faro de El Tostón)
|At about 5 km north of El Cotillo stands the lighthouse Tostón; the lighthouse is on the northwest cape of Fuerteventura, the Punta de Tostón or Punta de la Ballena. With the beacon of Punta Pechiguera in Playa Blanca, on the island of Lanzarote, and the lighthouse Martiño on the island of Lobos, it signals the Straits of Bocaina, between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
In reality there are three lights, three distinct generations, which only the latter is active. The first lighthouse was built in the late nineteenth century, in 1897, and consisted of a high masonry tower 7 m built in the corner of the house of the lighthouse keeper. In the late 1950s a new concrete tower 15 meters high was built; in 1985, the tower was in turn replaced by a larger turn. The last concrete tower - 30 m high - is painted in red and white stripes. Its signal can be seen at a distance of 14 nautical miles, and consists of a white light flash every eight seconds.
The lighthouse has been automated, the house of the lighthouse keeper has been converted into a museum.
|The Museum of Traditional Fishing (Museo de la Pesca Tradicional)
|The museum of traditional fishing - inaugurated in 2008 - is devoted to artisanal fishing techniques on Fuerteventura throughout the centuries since prehistoric times. It also shows the hard life of fishermen in the past, customs and devotions; fishermen were trained from childhood to this unprofitable activity. From season to season, they lived with their families in various ports, where were the best fishing conditions. During the winter, when the local fishing was not possible, they should commit on larger vessels fishing off the African coast.
Do not finish the tour without climbing the 64 steps leading to the top of the old lighthouse, 15 meters high, where a panoramic view of the landscape of white sands and raging ocean.
Around the museum a nature trail - 800 meters long - to discover the geology, flora and fauna of this region, using information panel.
Museo de la Pesca Tradicional
Faro de El Tostón (in the old lighthouse and the new lighthouse was closed to the public).
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm; closed on December 25 and January 1.
Entry fee: € 3 with an explanatory brochure in several languages.
Phone: 00 34 928 858 998 or 00 34 639 438 319
Site on the Web: www.artesaniaymuseosdefuerteventura.org
The museum has a small cafeteria with a few small tables to have a glass front to the sea.
|The beaches of El Cotillo
|Immediately south of the Tower of El Tostón lies the Playa del Castillo; further south, separated from the first by a thin lava flow, is the most famous beach of El Cotillo, the Playa del Algibe de la Cueva (“Beach Cistern of the Cave”) a range of 1200 meters in length and 30 meters wide. The Playa del Aljibe de la Cueva is popular with surfers and windsurfers, with waves that can reach 6 m high; one can also bathe in very calm weather. It is a sandy beach and golden gravel, which is also nudist. These ranges have no facilities apart bins. Further south, the Playa del Agula and Playa de Esquinzo, completely natural beaches, calm waters.
At the new district of holiday apartments “Los Lagos”, north of the village are the Playa de Los Lagos and the Playa de La Concha. Around the Faro de El Tostón on the Costa del Faro, there are many small coves (caletillas) with beaches of white sand, separated by dark basalt flows that may interfere with swimming.
|The tourism office
|Address: In the Tower of El Tostón, Paseo de Rico Roque.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 16 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 15 pm.
|Weather and forecasts
|Line 7 connects Puerto del Rosario to El Cotillo.
Timetable on page: www.tiadhe.com/rutas/07.htm
The line 8 connects every hour, 13 times a day, every day, Corralejo to El Cotillo, via La Oliva (price: € 3.10, journey time 40 mm).
Timetable on page: www.tiadhe.com/rutas/08.htm
|Restaurant La Vaca Azul
|La Vaca Azul is a fish restaurant run by French and very well located behind the Old Port (Puerto Antiguo), with a view of the harbor and the sea; the restaurant has tables in the small street and on the roof terrace, very nice. Free WIFI.
Regional cuisine with a touch of French style paella, fish tartare fresh “Vaca Azul” and assortment of grilled fish.
main courses from 10 to 15 €.
Hours: open daily from 12 am to 23 pm.
Address: Calle Requena, 9 - On the old pier (Muelle Viejo). The cow painted blue, perched on the terrace, from afar.
Phone: 00 34 928 538 685 or 00 34 679 447 055
Site on the Web: vacaazul.es
|Restaurant Casa Rústica
|The restaurant Casa Rústica is a small unassuming restaurant but very popular with locals, behind the new port but without a sea view at the beginning of the small street Calle de la Constitución 1. In the rustic setting of the room, or on the terrace, the Casa Rústica offers great food, Spanish and Italian; the restaurant serves excellent bread from the renowned French bakery El Cotillo, El Goloso.
Daily menu for about € 10.
Phone: 00 34 928 538 728
Site on the Web: www.casarustica.chezuwe.de